The Maps of Middle-earth

Studies of the Written Tolkien Legacy: From Analysis, to Maps, to Philosophy and Ethics, to Philology
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Riv Res
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Location: Walking the fields of the Pelennor with the King

The Maps of Middle-earth

Post by Riv Res » Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:10 am

Becky Carter-Hitchin

The Maps of Tolkien’s Worlds

It is said that J.R.R.Tolkien began working on maps of Middle-earth almost before he began writing his wonderful stories centered there. In her Acknowledgments at the beginning of her book The Atlas of Middle-earth, Karen Wynn Fonstad tells us…
…J.R.R.Tolkien…wrote not only enthralling books, but also meticulous ones. Only such breadth of knowledge and attention to detail could provide the data for an entire atlas…
We open this forum to discuss those maps created by Tolkien and Tolkien scholars, and how they not only enhance the stories created by the Professor, but indeed, his stories can not be thoroughly understood without them. Those of us who are visual learners delight in these marvelous and intricate visual aids as we travel through the Ages of Middle-earth. Indeed, we are like Bilbo Baggins…
J.R.R.Tolkien wrote: He was getting excited and interested again, so that he forgot to keep his mouth shut. He loved maps and in his hall there hung a large one of the Country Round with all of his favorite walks marked on it in red ink.
Let’s join Bilbo and all of our other friends in Middle-earth, and talk about the maps, geology, and history. As always please be mindful of the House Rules.

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Post by Varda » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:37 pm

While others may rejoice in Tolkien's poetry, I fell head over heels in love with his map making. In high school ( MANY years ago) I drew the map of Middle-earth, with scenes of the LoTR surrounding the map. It was and still is my pride and joy and has held up rather well all these years.

For me the maps ( done by Tolkien and the other wonderful artists, particularly Brian Sibley and John Howe) bring the stories alive. :D
O Elbereth! Gilthomiel!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees,
Thy starlight on the Western Seas.

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Post by marbretherese » Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:31 pm

On first reading LOTR all those years ago I was fascinated with the maps, and envious of a friend who had the three-volume version with fold out maps in it (I have a much-loved, dog-eared one-volume paperback). When the map appeared in the film I was thrilled - although logically, what other map was PJ going to use? :roll:

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Post by Philipa » Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:11 pm

I would suggest to anyone who has not read The Sil to buy Fonstad's altlas. Without that atlas I would have been lost in all those Elvish place names and battle movements. In my opinion it is imperative to know where Tolkien has put the reader within the story. It you read The Sil you'd be crazy not to use these maps. :wink:

I do love Tolkien's own maps. The personal hand-written quality lends an air of authenticity to his stories. :D

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Post by hope » Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:22 pm

I luckily recieved Fonstads atlas for xmas and I can't wait to sit with it while reading the Sil again and again (just love it). The detail in the maps and descriptions are awesome.

I remember my first read of the Sil was difficult as I had expected a map like the Middle Earth ones in the LOTR and I found placing peoples, events a problem, further reads clarified things but its still a weak area for me, so my next read should be better still. :)
What have I got in my pocket?

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